Teaching children financial skills is crucial to their success with money as an adult. However, it’s also a parent’s responsibility to provide necessities of life and opportunities to participate in activities that will create well rounded individuals ready to take on the real world.
Parents have to find a balance between providing their children with a comfortable life and teaching financial responsibility. Below I share the major categories of what my wife and I expect our daughter, who is a high school senior, to pay for using income from her of her part-time job, and what we supply for her.
There will always be food at home available for my her to eat. Every week before I go shopping I even ask my daughter if there’s anything special she’d like to add to the list. However, if she wants to go out to eat with her friends, that comes out of her own pocket.
Although she might disagree with me, makeup isn’t a necessity. It’s also very expensive. My daughter can decide how much of her own money she wants to spend on makeup. However, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t occasionally pick up the tab for a purchase here and there, or that there aren’t gift cards to Sephora given as a birthday or Christmas gift.
Having basic personal hygiene products is a necessity, including toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, shampoo and other items. I’d like to say I the line at expensive salon brand hair and skin care products but I don’t. She uses the same products as my wife, so I usually end up buying them at the same time.
I had to plead and beg for access to a car for two years before I saved up enough money to buy my own car. It gave me a sense of pride of having purchased my own car, and it made me take care of it because I know how hard and long I had to work to save up to buy it. When it came to my daughter, however, my daddy instincts kicked in a little. We needed her to have a car for our own convenience, and we wanted her to have a dependable, safe car. That, combined with Ford discontinuing production of many of their vehicles, we bought her a brand new Ford Focus at a steal of a deal.
Since we bought her car, our daughter is responsible for her car insurance. Every month, she pays me $125 to insure her ride.
If our daughter wants her car to move, she has to fill the gas tank. As far as other maintenance, there hasn’t been any bills in the year she’s had her car. She gets free tire rotations, and the car came with a coupon book which included free oil changes. I’m undecided as to whether I’ll make her pay for future oil changes or not.
We obviously make sure our daughter has clothes. This usually equates to providing some amount of funding twice a year (once in Fall, and once in Spring) for new clothes. If she wants to spend more than that, or buy clothes at other times during the year she uses her own funding.
Cheer Team is the only sport our daughter has wanted to be in throughout the entirety of high school. We’re more than happy to pay the registration fee.
There are required uniform and attire purchases, and some other optional pieces of clothing they can buy. We buy the required pieces, she buys anything extra she wants.
A cell phone is our communication line to our daughter. It allows us to reach her during school hours and when out with friends. It also gives us the ability to track her movements via the Find My iPhone app. We made the statement years ago that as long as she is under our care we will supply a cell phone. However, we make the decision what device she has, and when she is allowed to upgrade.
I believe we’ve found a nice balance between having our daughter take responsibility for some of her own expenses, while still allowing her to enjoy the fruits of her labor through working at a part-time job. One thing I try to do as often as possible is to show her the receipts of things we do pay for so she’s aware of how much things cost.
How about you, fellow EOD Nation Parents, what do you make your children pay for?